Geary Act of 1892 Summary

  • Last updated on November 10, 2022

Enacted to reinforce and extend provisions of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, the Geary Act prevented further immigration from China and required established Chinese residents of the United States to carry certificates of residence. The act grew out of an assumption that low-wage Chinese laborers were responsible for the economic downturn in the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

The [a]Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882;extension ofChinese Exclusion Act, passed in 1882, put a ten-year federal moratorium on the immigration of Chinese laborers, and increased restrictions on Chinese immigrants already living in the United States. When the act expired in 1892, a new bill was proposed by California Democratic congressman Geary, Thomas J.Thomas J. Geary. Geary’s bill extended the immigration moratorium for ten additional years and required existing Chinese immigrants to obtain official certificates of residence from the Internal Revenue Service;and Chinese immigrants[Chinese immigrants]Internal Revenue Service. Immigrants found without these certificates faced up to one year of hard labor followed by Deportation;and Geary Act of 1892[Geary Act of 1892]deportation. Bail was not permitted for immigrants arrested for being in the country illegally, and only a “credible white witness” could testify on behalf of an accused Chinese immigrant. The Geary Act was upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1893, in [c]Fong Yue Ting v. UnitedStatesFong Yue Ting v. United States. In 1902, the act was extended indefinitely, but Congress eased restrictions during the 1920’s and finally removed them in 1943.[a]Geary Act of 1892[a]Geary Act of 1892[cat]EAST ASIAN IMMIGRANTS;Geary Act of 1892[01970][cat]LAWS;Geary Act of 1892[01970][cat]ANTI-IMMIGRANT MOVEMENTS AND POLICIES;Geary Act of 1892[01970][a]Geary Act of 1892

Further Reading
  • Ancheta, Angelo N. Race, Rights, and the Asian American Experience. Piscataway, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2006.
  • Kim, Hyung-chan. Asian Americans and the Supreme Court: A Documentary History. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1992.
  • Motomura, Hiroshi. Americans in Waiting: The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

Asian immigrants

Asiatic Exclusion League

Bayard-Zhang Treaty of 1888

Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

Chinese immigrants

Congress, U.S.


Fong Yue Ting v. United States

History of immigration after 1891

McCreary Amendment of 1893

Categories: History